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Gloucestershire Business News

New mentoring service for young women in Gloucestershire

Girls and young women in Gloucestershire are set to benefit from an innovative new mentoring initiative.

Offered by a collaboration of seven trusted local mentoring organisations, Gloucestershire Mentoring Programme is a free mentoring service for 11 - 25-year-old females, whose life circumstances suggest they're at risk of becoming involved in crime.

Hosted by The Door and funded by CHK Foundation, the programme offers girls and young women the chance to form a long-lasting relationship with a trained volunteer mentor.

Having a relationship with a trusted independent adult is something that's often missing in the lives of 'at-risk' young people and can be life changing, helping them to build resilience and grow in confidence, empowering them to have a more positive future.

• Seven local delivery organisations are collaborating to deliver the service: 1625IP; Breathe; Nelson Trust; Thames Valley Partnership; The Door; WAM Youth; and Young Gloucestershire

• Part of a wider support services offer for vulnerable young people in the area

• Providers liaise with key police, social care, health, education and youth services contacts to give support to girls and young women who need help to make better choices at the right time

• Launched in March 2022, the programme has funding from grant making charity, CHK Foundation to operate for at least two years.

• It aims to support around 300 girls and young women over the first two years

• Anyone can make a referral through the Gloucestershire Mentoring Programme website

• Mentoring services provide a long-term 'safe space' for anyone who requires a sustained, trusted relationship with an adult

• Mentoring relationships typically last around 12 months - this can vary, depending on the age and needs of the young person

• Providers are currently recruiting more volunteer mentors, including those with lived experience - people with a little spare time and a heart for understanding and supporting young people

Chris Nelson, police and crime commissioner for Gloucestershire, said: "My plan for reducing crime, victimisation and reoffending in Gloucestershire is to tackle the causes of crime. By using a public health approach to crime prevention, we can intervene early, so that those interventions are more likely to be successful. The Gloucestershire Mentoring Programme is doing exactly that and has my full support, so much so that it is the only such scheme mentioned in my Police and Crime Prevention Plan."

Andy Dempsey, chair of Gloucestershire Youth Justice Management Board, said: "Young women and girls becoming involved in the criminal justice system are often characterised by their vulnerability and challenging life circumstances. This programme seeks to prevent that involvement by providing much needed, personalised support at the earliest point and is a welcome addition to the county's existing diversion and prevention work."

Chris Spencer, director of children's services, Gloucestershire County Council, said: "I was delighted to hear of CHK Foundation's significant investment in supporting the young people of Gloucestershire. It is particularly pleasing to learn this resource will be directed towards girls and young women in the county who have experienced disadvantage, trauma and additional challenges in life. GCC Children's Services and the wider Gloucestershire Children's Coalition look forward to supporting the programme in helping young people to live remarkable lives."

If you know a young person who might benefit from the support the programme offers (or you are that young person), visit gloucestershirementoringprogramme.co.uk to apply.

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